Reduce food packaging
The fact that we can now easily recycle many materials doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be conscious of the type of packaging we buy our products in. While it’s still better than filling the landfills, recycling takes a lot of energy. When we look at a product footprint, from the creation of the finished products to where it end after use, we see that it is of the utmost importance to start with the first R in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto.
15 ways to reduce food packaging
- Bring your own reusable bags for shopping. Many of us already do this at the grocery store. But why not bring your reusable bags when you’re shopping for other stuff?
- Buy fresh fruit and vegetables as is. Do you really need to put your apples in a plastic bag before putting it in your grocery bag? You’ll wash them anyway (I hope so!)
- Bring your Tupperware. Eating meat or fish? Instead of grabbing prepackaged meat cut or fish, just go at the counter and have some freshly cut/selected from the butcher or the fish counter. Ask the clerk to put it in your own (BPA free) container instead of in a plastic bag.
- Avoid buying individual-size or snack-size boxes or bags.
- Buy in bulk. Even better, some natural stores let you bring your own containers for bulk. This is a good way to reduce the use of plastic bags, cans or boxes.
- Use a reusable fabric or metallic mesh filter for coffee instead of paper filters.
- Buy loose tea or herbal tea instead of one-use tea bags, and don’t buy tea bags that are individually packaged.
- Learn to cook. Cooking at home makes you use less prepackaged and individually packaged food. And it’s much healthier! Be sure to use metal or ceramic pans instead of disposable aluminum ones.
- Bring your travel mug. Many coffee shops will fill your mug at no extra cost. This way, you avoid using single serving disposable coffee cups with plastic lids.
- Don’t buy bottled water. Instead, carry a stainless of glass water bottle. Reusing a plastic bottle (the thin plastic one bottled water comes in) can leech chemicals in your water.
- Use a reusable lunch bag instead of brown bags to bring your lunch.
- Choose containers over Ziplocs. Trying to clean individual sized plastic bags can be hazardous for health. Instead, try to use solid containers. It keeps the food fresh, and is easy to clean and reuse.
- Use biodegradable garbage bags. Here in Canada, you can find them in most natural stores.
- Make your own. Making your own nut milk, yogurt or bread can be fun and help eliminating the waste. It’s also a good way to make sure that there are no nasty food additives in your meals.
- Skip the fast food. Many restaurants, especially fast food chains serve food in disposable containers, with plastic forks, knives and paper towels. Try to choose restaurants that serve food in real plates.
Do you have other tips to reduce packaging? Share them with us!